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digital crafts |  Journalism

digital crafts | Journalism

Memes, which multiply in our text messages, emails, and social networks, are digital DIYs, summarizes Deborah Kreschke-Littau, of the Department of Sociology at the University of Quebec in Montreal (UQAM). « It’s a celebration in the 2010 Anniversaries as part of an identity of a culture of mixage, such as a large group of contents with different sources, a genre of photos that live on the end with a phrase that lives on last. »

A doctor in social anthropology gives an example Woman screaming at cat, was first posted on Twitter in 2019. “The popular meme of a woman pointing at a cat has been changed so many times that it has become part of a gag. These are two images that have been combined, but were not originally together. They are removed from their context and a new context is created. As a creative practice, it is completely new. It’s about customizing digital materials to create something else. »

According to Dani Rudnicka-Lavoie, who studied feminist memes during her master’s degree at the University of Queensland, “memes have become a communication tool in the way we use social media apps.” “We’ll send a meme to our friend to say ‘This is how I feel.’ […] They also have cultural, humorous and artistic value. Content creators spend a lot of time creating and publishing content online, and then they basically do that work for free. »

Constance Mascot agrees. “It’s like art to me. Every little detail is thought out. It doesn’t seem like it was done very quickly, but I want them to be perfect and funny. »

“It’s like cartoons, but with a lot of pop culture aspects,” says Luis, of the Instagram account Québécois Normal (formerly FLQueer). It is repetition and recycling of ideas. We have created Mimi cooperatives. We share our formats, content and ideas. »

Power of numbers

There are already communities of memes – and their followers – in Quebec. Friendships were formed. Small competitions too. But contrary to what we often see on social media, the climate is healthy.

It may seem surprising, but I never get bad comments. People can understand that I’m not serious and that these are just jokes.

Fabrice Poirier, founder of Skedoo Sled, has over 70,000 subscribers on his accounts

“Since I started making memes, people have been kinder to me. Before, when I went out, I didn’t talk much. Now, I’m like a little star,” Constance Mascot adds, laughing. His Instagram page, which bears his name, is followed by 7,400 people.

“We have a very accepting and attractive community,” says Fruiter’s Vincent Hood. […] We conduct tests, and then if there is enthusiasm, we go for it. A while ago, I made a simple case to say that people who climb often like to tell their friends about it, but those who don’t really don’t care. A lot of people tagged themselves in the comments and I thought I was on to something. So, I went with that. Memes work with Dyson vacuum cleaners a lot too. »

Last April, several members of Quebec jointly produced a series of memes featuring singer Emile Bilodeau. “On the podcast he said he was a clone. “Someone wrote that into our discussion, and then we decided to make a day of memes suggesting that Emile Bilodeau was a clone,” says Lewis, whose Instagram page Québécois Normal has more than 1,300 subscribers after a year of “being “.

The photo is taken from the Instagram account @QUEBECOIS_NORMAL

This kind of cruelty is not uncommon. “At some point, we decided to publish Marc Labreche memes every hour for 24 hours. They weren’t very thoughtful, it was just a matter of flooding the world with Marc Labreche memes,” recalls Thierry Hardy-Lachance, one of the trio behind Linternet, the meme pioneer in Quebec. I remember On Halloween, we made a meme with Marc Labreche’s face and then said, “Make a mask out of it and wear it to school.” Teenagers really joined in. To have the opportunity to start a movement online is what it’s like. Nice – good. »

Image taken from LYNTERNAIT’s Facebook page

At Linternet’s suggestion, several young people wore a Marc Labreche mask on Halloween 2016.

Thierry Hardy-Lachance speaks in the past tense, because the Lynternait Facebook page, which has just turned 10 years old, has been no longer active since 2017. Despite everything, 82,000 people are still subscribed. The Instagram account still posts sporadically to its 25,000 followers.

“In early 2010, it was young people who were using Facebook. Now it’s my parents and baby boomers. In mid-2010, there was this kind of overlap where both age groups were using Facebook, and then it was chaos. We can only laugh and make fun of him [dans nos mèmes] “, he remembers.

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Silly, hidden, or busy

Memers has since taken to Instagram and occasionally TikTok. The methods also varied. Satire has given way to some extent to absurdism and given birth to more specialized styles.

Marketing has captured Lynternait’s sarcastic sense of humor. New guys get around this by making jokes that can’t be used for commercial purposes.

Thierry Hardy Lachance, Mimi

There is what we call it Spread shit, which is a popular discipline at the moment. “It’s very humorous, very silly, carefree.” For Luis, creator of the Québécois Normal Instagram page, Spread shit Equivalent to “playing with sarcasm”. “It’s a more fun way to write and communicate, while still being a bit silly.”

The photo is taken from the Instagram account @QUEBECOIS_NORMAL

“More niche content, more committed creators will do that Disable [perturber] More standard meme culture, e.g [le compte] Damn Jerry. “They are responding to this culture that they do not identify with, and at the same time, they are creating something that is also critical of the society around them,” explains Dani Rudnicka-Lavoie.

The FuckJerry Instagram account has 17 million followers, making it a major business tool. Many other very popular accounts have become mini media empires generating large sums of money. No meme creators in Quebec make a living from this work, but some have managed to get some contracts.

“We form partnerships with companies that want us to promote their brand. Most of the time it goes very well and people accept it because they feel like it’s not too forced,” says Fruiter’s Vincent Hood, who spends about 30 minutes a day creating memes.

“I’ve done collaborations with Robin des bas, Poches & Fils and Pizza Salvatore. It’s fun, but it’s not a big enough income to make a living from it. I’m not an influencer,” adds Fabrice Poirier.